Budapest: Avoid the Heat

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

We visited Budapest at the end of July 2017. Despite hearing all the rave reviews as well as some native Hungarian friends' personal guarantees, we didn't enjoy Budapest that much, mostly due to the hot weather we believe.

It was above 35 degrees each day during our entire five days' stay! All we wanted to do was to stay indoors with cool air conditioning. It was just too much to wander outside with heavy perspiration that instantly withered the entire body.

We did appreciate the striking Gothic Revival style Parliament building on the bank of Danube. We also enjoyed the night view of the Buda Castle and the view along the Danube river.

Above all, three things really stood out which remained our most vivid memory of the trip. Firstly the unique ultra cool ruin pubs in the Jewish Quarter. These hip, artsy, and funky pubs were born out of dilapidated buildings after World War II and are thriving today with different personalities. Quite often they are filled with eclectic flea market furniture with a few artists coming in to leave their mark on the walls and ceiling. We visited Szimpla Kert, the original ruin pub a couple of times - once a Sunday morning market and the other time at night. We loved the atmosphere both times and happily spent a couple of hours exploring multiple rooms with their quirky decorations. Of course there are also upscale versions such as Mazel Tov that we visited. It retains the concept of a ruin pub, but presents a much more elegant environment with nice furnitures and cocktails.

Our second vivid memory was the wine tasting at the Faust Wine Cellars, which is a historic wine cellar located underneath the Buda Castle. The cool setting itself ticked half of the box. You can choose many tasting programs depending on how much time you have. We remember walking out of there feeling very happy and tipsy, without retaining much what we just learned about different types of wine in Hungary.

Lastly Dobos Torte, the decadent Hungarian chocolate butter cream layered cake was very much alive in our memory until this day. After half an hour sweaty workout, we didn't need an excuse to sit down in an air conditioned cafe indulging on a delicious Dobos Torte!

We did have some tasty meals in various cafes and restaurants. Budapest is great place for gustatory pleasure, traditional or contemporary. Whether or not the venue offers air conditioning on a very hot day is a totally different story! In our case, 70% of them didn't.